April’s Workforce Strategies Forum centered on helping companies improve their process for hosting student tours. The forum featured two guest speakers: Katie Sudler of McCormick FONA and Ron Brown of Smith and Richardson Inc., both of whom are famous in our local manufacturing community for consistently wowing students with their facility tours.
Sudler and Brown both talked about making sure your tour style is up to date, so you can impress your tour attendees. Students are immediately more likely to be interested when things are running smoothly and look nice. They are also more likely to be drawn in when they can envision themselves working there, in a fun, engaging environment.
Compiling our manufacturer friends’ thoughts, we’ve compiled another checklist for you to use as guidance as you strive to perfect your tour
It goes without saying that safety is of the utmost importance. Keep tour participants safe while reassuring potential future workers in the audience that your company values their employees and keeping them under safe working conditions.
BEFORE Tour Day
- Communicate safety expectations about dress before the tour so participants can arrive dressed appropriately (hair pulled back, closed toe shoes, pants, etc.)
- Check your PPE supplies before the tour to ensure there is enough for all of the participants
- Ask if there are students with mobility issues or special needs.
Day of the tour:
- Reiterate safety protocol, specify where students can and cannot go, and what they can and cannot touch.
- Let students know what to do in case of emergency.
- Demonstrate proper use of PPE
- Set the tone
We want to maximize the information we can pass along on tours while still making it accessible to students. Integrate some fun into your tour information to keep students engaged.
- Share videos or handouts
- Be mindful of the age, educational background, and attention span of the students
- Avoid technical jargon
- Right before the tour, give a brief presentation of your company
- Talk about the various job and career paths at your company
- Use games or activities as talking points or areas of interest
- Have something students can touch/hold or a hands-on demonstration
Involve your employees
Having multiple employees lead your tour shows students that your employees are engaged in your company, willing to set aside their time to speak. The right employees can make or break your presentation.
- Pick employees who are knowledgeable, relatable, and personable.
- Let your other employees know about the tour and involve them.
Don’t forget the details
The little things often hold the power to sway students towards or away from manufacturing.
- Create a clean, welcoming atmosphere
- Tell students where they can leave their belongings and where the bathroom is located.
- Give attendees parking information ahead of time.
- If you are serving food, connect with your groups’ leader to discuss any potential dietary restrictions.
- If you do a “give away” for fun of any item, make sure you have enough for everyone. Don’t risk alienating or disappointing a student because you didn’t have an extra tumbler.
- **Make Sure Everyone Can Hear**
- Thank students for coming in and give them a way to reach you after the tour
***Making Sure Everyone Can Hear*** is so important on a tour. In many manufacturing facilities, the noise of machinery in use can make it difficult for one person to amplified enough to speak to a crowd. The quickest way students disengage from a tour is if they can’t hear anything about what is happening.
That being said, GCAMP is very excited to announce that we have purchased Tour Headsets for speakers and tour attendees to wear on tours! GCAMP is thrilled to offer these tour headsets for FREE to members of our Circle of Champions as an added benefit. Talk to Dawn Curran at firstname.lastname@example.org today if you are interested in using our headsets.
If you haven’t already, make sure you read Kathy’s blog, “Are You Tour Ready,” with all of the essentials for hosting a student tour.